Food & Drink

Great Northwest Wine: NW wines continue to rule on national stage

America’s largest wine competition grew even bigger, and Northwest wines continued to shine on the country’s largest stage.

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, which took place the first full week of January in this town in northern Sonoma County, drew a record 6,400 entries from 23 states, and about 60 wine professionals spent four days tasting, evaluating and rewarding each wine on its own merits.

Overall, wines from Washington, Oregon and Idaho won about 500 medals at the Chronicle wine competition, with 109 earning gold medals and nine of those rising to the status of “best of class.” A wine earns best of class when it is deemed the best wine in its group. (Typically, about 40 wines of similar style, grape variety and/or price range will make up a class.)

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is in its 30th year. It began as the Cloverdale Citrus Fair Wine Competition, open to wineries in 20-mile radius of the town of Cloverdale, which included wineries in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. It eventually expanded to include wineries from throughout California, then the West Coast and now the entire country.

The San Francisco Chronicle newspaper has been the naming sponsor for the competition for 15 years, and its name recognition has been a major factor in the growth of the judging.

A public tasting that includes hundreds of the competition’s medal-winning wines is Feb. 14 at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. Tickets are $65 in advance.

A full list of all Northwest medal winners is at greatnorthwestwine.com. The complete list of all winning wines is at winejudging.com.

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